Dandelion root is an herbal extract that’s used to treat gastrointestinal problems, fight inflammation and oxidative damage, and treat bloating and excessive water retention.
It’s derived from the common dandelion plant, but the dandelion root herb has a long history of use in traditional and folk medicine as a remedy for stomach pain, boosting longevity, and for use in detox regiments thanks to its diuretic effects.
We’ve reviewed and ranked the ten best sources of dandelion root, plus dug in-depth on the science behind dandelion root supplements. Read on for more.
1. Oregon’s Wild Harvest Dandelion Root
Oregon’s Wild Harvest Dandelion Root is one of the few capsule-based dandelion root supplements that is certified organic.
With capsules made from the plant-derived binder pullulan and zero additional ingredients, it’s an excellent way to add dandelion to your supplementation without worrying about purity or unnecessary ingredients.
Thanks to the high quality of the ingredients and the clean supplement design, it’s our top pick.
2. Feel Good Organics Dandelion Root
Looking to graduate from capsule-based dandelion root supplements but intimidated by giant two-pound bulk bags? Look no further than Feel Good Organics Dandelion Root.
This is an organically certified loose-leaf source of dandelion root that still comes in a smaller package.
At only four ounces in each packet, it’s great if you are only using dandelion root for a short detox or you want to try out making dandelion tea before committing to a bulk buy.
3. Starwest Botanicals Raw Dandelion Root Tea
Starwest Botanicals shines for those who want to mix and steep their own dandelion root tea, or for those who want to make their own dandelion tinctures.
Tinctures are tricky, but making dandelion tea is quite easy. The only downside to this approach is shared across all bulk dandelion supplements―it is a lot harder to estimate your dosage and to take a reliable and consistent dose day to day.
That aside, this organically-certified bulk dandelion root is great if you want to prepare your own supplements.
4. Nature’s Way Dandelion Root
When it comes to simple and pure dandelion root supplements, Nature’s Way Dandelion Root is one of the best. It provides 525 mg of raw dandelion root in a vegan-friendly cellulose capsule.
Aside from a bit of magnesium stearate for stability, there are no additional ingredients, so for a solid dosage without any unnecessary extras, it’s a great choice.
5. PureNaturals Herbs Dandelion Root
PureNaturals Herbs Dandelion Root is a fairly standard dandelion root supplement with 500 mg of plant material per capsule.
Despite the fact that this dandelion root supplement doesn’t offer much that other competitors don’t, the capsule design is pretty clean, so it’s still a good pick.
6. Traditional Medicinals Roasted Dandelion Root
Traditional Medicinals Roasted Dandelion Root is an extremely popular source of pre-made dandelion tea, already packaged into tea satchels.
Unlike some of its other competitors, this dandelion tea is roasted, which gives it a toasted flavor that’s more similar to “real” teas, but at the downside of potentially destroying some of the biologically active compounds in the fresh plant material.
Look elsewhere if you want to maximize the concentration of herbal compounds in your dandelion root, but it’s good for occasional users who want something premade and ready to go.
7. Nature’s Answer Dandelion Root
Nature’s Answer Dandelion Root is a tincture-based source of dandelion root.
The concentration is calibrated such that every two milliliters of solution is equivalent to 2000 mg of raw plant material—or at least the soluble compounds dissolved in glycerin and water.
The solution is alcohol-free, but it shares the same disadvantages of most liquid concentrate supplements: measuring out precise doses is difficult compared to using capsules.
8. NOW Dandelion Root
NOW Dandelion Root is a fairly standard capsule-based dandelion root supplement.
It uses cellulose capsules to deliver a dose of 500 mg of dandelion root, though purists won’t like the inclusion of silica as a binder and stabilizing agent.
If a moderate dosage in a capsule is all you’re after, though, it still fits the bill.
9. Frontier Bulk Dandelion Root
Frontier Bulk Dandelion Root is one option for bulk dandelion root, and while it offers a decent product, it’s largely outclassed by other competitors which offer perks like organic certification and more detailed information on sourcing.
Though it’s one potential option for bulk users, most will want to look elsewhere.
10. GNC Herbal Plus Dandelion Root
Though the dosage of GNC Herbal Plus Dandelion Root is slightly higher than average, at 550 mg per capsule, it has just enough disadvantages to end up at the bottom of the rankings.
The capsules aren’t designed quite as clean as some of the other options on the market, and vegans or vegetarians won’t like the fact that the capsules include animal-based gelatin.
Dandelion root benefits and side effects
Dandelion root is an herbal extract from the familiar dandelion plant that’s used to make tea, tinctures, and supplements for treating gastrointestinal pain, improving risk factors for chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, and as a part of a detox routine.
Each of these uses has sparked a range of scientific research into the biological mechanisms behind dandelion root potential health benefits.
Dandelion root could help decrease risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Dandelion root contains some strong antioxidants, and many other supplements that contain high levels of antioxidants have proven to be effective agents for improving risk factors for heart disease, like high cholesterol levels.
Research into dandelion root has explored this possibility, with promising results. One study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in 2010 by researchers in South Korea used a rabbit model to study whether dandelion root could help decrease risk factors linked to cardiovascular disease (1).
The study involved several groups of rabbits: a control group which received a normal diet, then three experimental groups which consumed a high-cholesterol diet designed to induce heart disease.
Two of these three high cholesterol diet groups also had dandelion root or dandelion leaf added to their diet.
The researchers tested the levels of blood lipids after the treatment period ended, and found that both the dandelion root and the dandelion leaf groups fared much better with regards to their blood lipid levels.
Further investigation showed that the dandelion groups had better profiles of antioxidant enzyme activity in their blood, which the researchers interpreted as providing evidence for a link between the antioxidant properties of the active ingredients in dandelion and its apparent cardioprotective effects.
The antioxidant effects of dandelion root may help protect your liver. Your heart isn’t the only organ that is negatively affected by oxidative damage; one of the major sources of liver deterioration is oxidative damage.
While a lot of things can cause liver damage, one attractive experimental model is heavy alcohol consumption, because alcohol causes well-characterized and reliable damage to the liver, much of it through oxidative damage.
One study published in 2010 in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology used mice exposed to large amounts of alcohol to study the ability of dandelion root to protect the liver from alcohol-induced damage (2).
All of the mice had a large amount of alcohol administered, but some of the mice had been given a dandelion root extract beforehand (made with hot water and raw dandelion root material, just like dandelion tea).
The researchers found that the mice given the dandelion root extract had a significant reduction in the amount of oxidative damage to their liver after the alcohol was administered, which suggests that dandelion root’s antioxidant effects also protect your liver from damage.
Other research has connected dandelion root with resistance to the development of fibrosis in the liver. The development of fibrous deposits in the liver is one of the hallmarks of liver damage.
One study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology by researchers in Croatia was able to show that an extract from dandelion protected mice livers from damage from carbon tetrachloride, a known liver toxin (3).
This finding highlights the possibility that the liver protection benefits of dandelion root might not be limited to merely the damage associated with alcohol consumption.
This finding hasn’t been lost on supplement manufacturers, many of whom include dandelion root in detox tea and other cleansing and detoxing routines.
Dandelion root can be used as a diuretic to reduce water retention. One of the primary herbal medicine applications of dandelion based extracts has been treating gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating.
A possible explanation for these applications could be dandelion root’s diuretic effects, which modulate your body’s water balance and decrease your water retention.
A pilot study published in 2009 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine was the first scientific report to quantify the diuretic effects of a dandelion supplement (4).
The study involved measuring the urine output of a group of volunteers, first over a two day period with no supplementation to establish baseline levels of water balance. Then, the subjects took a dandelion extract twice during a 24 hour period and their urine output was studied that day and the day after.
The researchers found that all 17 people in the study had increased urine output in the first five hours after taking the dandelion extract, and urine output increased again after the second dose of dandelion extract.
These findings provide evidence that dandelion root extract can be used to control your body’s water balance, so if you have bloating or extra water retention, dandelion root might be able to help.
Dandelion root has been studied for its ability to decrease your body’s absorption of dietary fat. Due to the high energy content of dietary fat (twice that of carbohydrates and protein), fat has been a popular target for supplements and interventions designed for weight loss.
While there aren’t any direct human studies on dandelion root supplements for weight loss, there has been some interesting research on a potential biological mechanism that dandelion root extract could use to help promote weight loss.
A study published by researchers in Korea looked at the ability of active compounds in dandelion to inhibit the enzyme pancreatic lipase (5).
This is the same enzyme that is targeted by Alli and a few other weight loss pills, because it is responsible for breaking down fat in your digestive tract.
If this breakdown is prevented, the amount of calories your body absorbs is decreased, even if your dietary intake doesn’t change.
The Korean study found that dandelion extract contains compounds which decrease the activity of pancreatic lipase, which suggests that it might be helpful for reducing the amount of fat your body absorbs from your diet.
While this needs to be tested in a human trial, the finding is nevertheless promising and suggests that dandelion might be used in more weight loss supplements in the future.
Broadly speaking, dandelion root extract appears to be fairly safe and well-tolerated, though there have been very few direct studies in humans.
According to a review in the Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy, dandelion root has been found to be nontoxic in animal studies (6).
In humans, the same report states that side effects can include allergies, eczema, or increased sun sensitivity, but these are the result of direct skin contact, not consumption.
A few experts report that stomach discomfort, heartburn, and diarrhea can result, but these side effects have not been reported in scientific studies.
The same review in the Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy describes a range of recommended doses, though these are derived from expert opinions and not controlled research studies (7).
For adults, the document recommends doses of 2 to 8 grams of dried dandelion root material. Often, these are made by infusing the raw plant material in hot water and drinking it like tea.
Research studies so far have mostly studies animals, so direct dose equivalents are difficult to compute.
Dandelion root is an herbal supplement that is still in the early stages of development, but there is evidence that suggests it exerts strong antioxidant and diuretic effects.
The antioxidant properties of dandelion root might be useful for reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease and for protecting your liver from damage, oxidation, and fibrosis.
Some laboratory-based research even suggests that dandelion root contains compounds that can inhibit your body’s absorption of dietary fat by blocking a specific enzyme, so it could be useful for weight loss too.
Side effects are rare and mild, and can include gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea, and heartburn. Dosage recommendations are currently in the vicinity of two to eight grams of dried dandelion root per day, often infused in hot water to make tea, but these recommendations are derived from expert opinion, not scientific data.
As more research emerges on dandelion root, we’ll get a clearer picture of how it can be used for health and well-being, but the initial results are promising.